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look well to it, that, with “ the form we have also the power of godliness." We are too apt to rush into the Divine presence without any consciousness of the importance of the work in which we are going to be engaged, or any fear of his Majesty, whom we are going to address. If we would
prevent formality in the house of God, we should endeavour to carry thither a devout spirit along with us, and guard against the very first incursion of vain thoughts and foolish imaginations. Let us then labour to attain such a sense of our own necessities and of God's unbounded goodness, as shall produce a fixedness of mind, whenever we draw nigh to God in prayer; and for this end, let us ask of God the gift of his Holy Spirit to help our infirmities : and let us never think that we have used the Liturgy to any good purpose, unless it bring into our bosoms an inward witness of its utility, and a reasonable evidence of our accep. tance with God in the use of it.
Deut. V. 28, 29. They have well said all that they have spo.
ken: 0 that there were such an heart in them!
· IN our preceding discourses on this text, we first entered distinctly and fully into its true import, and then applied it, in an ac. commodated sense, to the Liturgy of our Established Church. The utility of a Liturgy being doubted by many, we endea. voured to vindicate the use of it, as lawful in itself, expedient for us, and acceptable to God. But it is not a mere vindication only which such a composition merits at our hands: the labour bestowed upon it has been exceeding great: Our first reformers omitted nothing that could conduce to the improvement of it: they consulted the most pious and learned of foreign Divines, and submitted it to them for their correc
tion: and, since their time, there have been frequent revisions of it, in order that every expression which could be made a subject. of cavil, might be amended: by which means it has been brought to such a state of perfection, as no human composition of equal size and variety can pretend to.
To display its excellence is the task, which agreeably to the plan before proposed, is now assigned us; and we enter upon it with pleasure; in the hope, that those who have never yet studied the Liturgy, will learn to appreciate its value, and that all of us may be led to a more thankful and profitable use of it in future.
To judge of the Liturgy aright, we should contemplate Its spirituality and purity-Its fulness and suitableness-Its moderation and candour.
1st. Its spirituality and purity.
It is well known that the services of the Church of Rome, from whose communion
we separated, were full of superstition and error: they taught the people to rest in car. nal ordinances, without either stimulating them to real piety, or establishing them on the foundation which God has laid. They contained, it is true, much that was good: but they were at the same time so filled with ceremonies of man's invention, and with doctrines repugnant to the Gospel, that they tended only to deceive and rúin all who adhered to them. In direct opposition to those services we affirm, that the whole scope and tendeney of our Liturgy is to raise our minds to a holy and heavenly state, and to build us up upon the Lord Jesus Christ as the only foundation of a. sinner's hope.
Let us look at the stated services of our church; let us call to mind all that we have heard or uttered, from the introductory sentences which were to prepare our minds, to the Dismission Prayer which closes the whole; there is nothing for shew, but all for edification and spiritual improvement.. Is humility the foundation of true piety? What deep humiliation is expressed in the General Confession, and throughout the Litany, as also in supplicating forgiveness after every one of the Commandments, for our innumerable violations of them all! Is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ the way appointed for our reconciliation with God? We ask for every blessing solely in his name and for his sake; and with the holy vehenence of importunity, we urge with him the consideration of all that he has done and suffered for us, as our plea for mercy; and, at the Lord's Supper, we mark so fully our affiance in his atoning blood, that it is impossible for any one to use those prayers aright, without seeing and feeling that there is no other name under heaven but his, whereby we can be saved."